COSHOCTON -- Next month, WTNS radio station, Coshocton, will celebrate 70 years being on the air.
In September, 1947, area listeners heard the first broadcast from what we all know as WTNS Radio. Coshocton Broadcasting, as it was first known for a brief time, was actually incorporated in 1945 by F. Bruce Wallace, Bob Wallace and Bill Wallace. The studio was constructed in July 1947 on Sixth Street where it remains today.
A former Newcomerstown resident, Anita Barnett, daughter of Ledlie and Etta (Taylor) Barnett, was employed at WTNS as the traffic manager, being hired in June of 1949. Barnett, a graduate of Newcomerstown High School in 1945, and Ohio University in 1949 was the traffic and continuity director for Ohio University's radio station, WOUN, having initiated the university's first traffic and continuity system. She also worked in the capacity of script manager. Barnett had also been the organizer and was a charter member of Chi Rho Eta, an honorary radio sorority at Ohio University.
Barnett sadly passed away at the young age of 22 following a highway mishap that occurred near West Lafayette while on her way home to Newcomerstown from WTNS on April 10, 1950. Barnett's sister, Joan (Barnett) Little, who resides in Maine, recalls that her sister was very dedicated to her job position at WTNS, and most likely would have gone even further in her radio career.
A bit of history about the radio: the first live radio broadcast took place in Pittsburgh, PA from KDKA radio on November 2, 1920. The inventor of the radio was Nikola Tesla, a Serbian-American scientist, following the invention of the induction coil (later named the Tesla coil) in 1884. The first successful radio signals were sent and received in Italy in 1895 by Italian scientist, Guglielmo Marconi.
WTNS is currently owned by Bruce Wallace, and managed by Ken Smailes. Diann Koch, one of several radio reporters, covers much of the news for Newcomerstown, and West Lafayette area. Tom Thompson has covered sports events for WTNS for many years. The studio currently employs about 15 persons, several who are part-time employees.